Work Site Safety: What to do When Hazardous Materials are Exposed?

Worksites are prone to unexpected occurrence of hazardous material, this can be present during operational hours, and can also be a cause of an incorrect hazard assessment inside your facility.

Exposure to chemicals commonly used in workplaces can lead to a variety of short- and long-term health effects such as poisoning, skin rashes and disorders of the lung, kidney, and liver. When chemicals are stored or handled correctly, the inherent risk is minimized. But if something goes wrong and a chemical is spilled, appropriate action must be taken immediately to prevent injury to workers and others, and to reduce the potential damage to other materials and equipment in the facility.

In this article, we will discuss ways on how to reduce the spread of already leaked or exposed harmful substances inside your working site. But first, let us address the different hazards that your workers might be exposed to:

Safety Hazards

Safety hazards are unsafe working conditions that can cause injury, illness, and death. Safety hazards are the most common workplace hazards. This includes unguarded machinery and moving machinery parts that a worker can accidentally touch; anything that can cause falls such as working from heights, including ladders, scaffolds, roofs, or any raised work area; electrical hazards like frayed cords, missing ground pins, improper wiring, etc.

Biological Hazards

Biological risks include exposure to harm or disease associated with working with animals, people, or infectious plant materials. Workplaces with these kinds of dangers include but are not limited to, work in schools, day care facilities, colleges and universities, hospitals, laboratories, emergency response, nursing homes, or various outdoor occupations. The example of biological hazards is bacteria and viruses, fungi/mold, and body fluids.

Physical Hazards

Physical hazards can be any factors within the environment that can harm the body without necessarily touching it. Being exposed to material risks can be the cause of radiation: including ionizing, non-ionizing (EMF’s, microwaves, radio waves, etc.); temperature extremes, and high exposure to ultraviolet rays.

• Chemical Hazards

This particular hazard is present when a worker is exposed to any chemical preparation in the workplace in any form (solid, liquid or gas).  Some are safer than others, but to some workers who are more sensitive to chemicals, even common solutions can cause illness, skin irritation, or breathing problems. Keep in mind that chemical hazards can be in the form of vapors and fumes that come from welding or exposure to solvents; Flammable materials like gasoline, solutions, and explosive chemicals, etc.

Work Organization Hazards

Hazards or stressors that cause stress (short-term effects) and strain (long-term effects).  These are hazards associated with workplace issues such as workload, lack of control and respect, etc.

Ways to Prevent the Spread of Leaked Hazardous Materials

Now that you are aware of the hazard component that is leaked on your work sit, it is now the time to perform prevention of its widespread. Here are the ways that you can consider when harmful chemicals are exposed to your work site:

Isolate Hazardous Substances

It is essential to store hazardous materials in an area where airlock can be performed when these toxins are leaked. Isolating these types of chemical prevents them from spreading to places that can further harm people.

Equip Workers with Personal Protective Equipment

PPE is one of the essential things that can save your worker’s life in times of chemical leakage and accidents. Always reminding your workforce to suit up and use PPE properly inside the work site will give them time to assess things better not worrying about the physical effect of this sudden exposure of harmful substances.

Contact Emergency Response Authorities

If the leakage of the hazardous component is unmanageable, it is best to contact nearby emergency response authorities that can incubate the area. Authorities can also help you to secure the area where the harmful substance is present and perform a complete assessment of the incident.

Clean Up the Spill and any Damage

Collect the material used to contain or neutralize the spill and dispose of it in a specified manner. If the discharge is small, that may be a plastic bag, while more massive spills may require plastic pails or drums. In some cases, you’ll also need to dispose of any equipment such as brooms or dustpans that you used to clean up the material. If what you’ve gathered qualifies as a hazardous material, be sure to label it accordingly and dispose of it as specified by local laws and environmental regulations.

If you are interested to know more about how our products can keep your worksite safe from hazardous materials leakage, you can contact us at +607 332 61 66 or email us at psejb@progressivemy.com

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